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Satellite-based Earth Observation for Infrastructure Monitoring: Startups in Action

By Mwikisa Kanguya

The necessity for thorough infrastructure monitoring is more important than ever in a time of rapidly growing transportation networks, urbanisation, and environmental concerns. Thankfully, new businesses and satellite-based Earth observation technologies are transforming the way we maintain, monitor, and manage our infrastructure assets. Utilising satellite imagery, sophisticated analytics, and artificial intelligence, these firms are able to offer practical insights into the state, functionality, and development of infrastructure networks across the globe.

Over the projection period of 2021 to 2030, the global satellite earth observation market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% to reach USD 14,166 billion. The use of earth observation satellites has risen across a range of end-use industries, which has led to the expansion of satellite earth observation. Additionally, the integration of digital data analysis and geospatial data fusion has enhanced the market value of this technology.

This week, we spotlight four companies that are driving innovation in the sector:

Spectator:  (Founder)
Spectator is an Austrian company with a focus on developing computer vision algorithms and solutions utilizing satellite images. The platform offers users the ability to track the position of earth-imaging satellites, access Austrian satellite data, predict satellite passes, and obtain satellite images of specific areas. Spectator aims to make satellite remote sensing more mainstream by providing an easy-to-use orbital monitoring system for individuals and organisations to access satellite imagery and data.

Satellite Vu: (Founder)
Satellite Vu is a UK based company that offers thermal imaging solutions from space, providing unparalleled resolution and globally scalable coverage for monitoring purposes. Their thermal datasets offer accuracy, frequency, and resolution that are unprecedented, empowering users to make decisions with high confidence levels. With features like up to 60s video, mid-wave infrared technology, and a 3.5m resolution, Satellite Vu’s imaging data aims to give users a competitive edge across various sectors such as climate solutions, industrial activity monitoring, built environment, and defence and intelligence.

Planet: (Founder)
Planet a U.S based company, utilizes satellite data to deliver scientifically rigorous measurements of Earth’s changing surface conditions. These variables, including water content, vegetation biomass, temperature, and forest carbon, are derived from advanced remote sensing techniques and a team of scientists.

Spiral Blue: (Founder)
Spiral Blue is a Sydney-based company with a  space edge computer, designed specifically for the rugged space environment. Spiral Blue has been supporting various customer missions by enabling satellites to process data on board with artificial intelligence. 

The rise of startups at the nexus of infrastructure monitoring and satellite-based Earth observation signals an important change in our understanding of and approach to managing the physical world. These inventive companies are not only making vital satellite data more accessible to all, but they are also enabling it to be used to solve intricate problems in infrastructure development, planning, and maintenance. These firms provide scalable and affordable solutions that enable real-time monitoring, preventive maintenance, and informed decision-making across diverse industries by utilizing satellite imagery, advanced analytics, and machine learning.

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